Disappearing Desmond

Anna Alter, Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86684-5
"How Not to Be Seen" is a famous Monty Python sketch, but it also describes the peculiar and poignant talent of shy children like Alter's (What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe?) hero Desmond, an anthropomorphized cat. Desmond is so self-erasing that he can easily blend into a classroom poster: "Sometimes, even his teacher could not find him." Then one day, a vivacious and persistent rabbit named Gloria (think young Auntie Mame with long ears) arrives in class and pulls Desmond out of his shell. One good turn leads to another, and soon most of the class wallflowers are blooming—although the final image makes it clear there's still work to be done. Many of Desmond's camouflage efforts show a lot of ingenuity, which could convey to some readers that his inner life in rich enough to compensate for his lack of friends. But Alter's empathy is never in question, and with Gloria's arrival it becomes clear just how much yearning was in Desmond's heart—socially confident readers and shrinking violets alike will be won over. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/12/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 40 pages - 978-0-375-96684-2
Open Ebook - 46 pages - 978-0-307-98256-8
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